Category Archives: Family & Work

Persistent Gaps: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2017

Source: Karen Schulman and Helen Blank, National Women’s Law Center, October 2017

From the summary:
Child care is crucial for the well-being of parents, children, and our nation. It makes it possible for parents to work and support their families. It gives children a safe, nurturing environment to learn and develop skills they need to succeed in school and in life. And, by strengthening the current and future workforce, it bolsters our nation’s economy. Yet many families, particularly low-income families, struggle with the high cost of child care. These costs can strain families’ budgets, force parents to use lower-cost care even if they would prefer other options for their children, or prevent parents from working because they cannot afford care. Child care assistance can enable families to overcome these challenges by helping families pay for child care.

Given the importance of child care assistance to families, it is essential for states to have strong child care assistance policies. Under the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the major federal child care assistance program, states have flexibility to set policies within federal parameters. This report examines states’ policies in five key areas—income eligibility limits to qualify for child care assistance, waiting lists for child care assistance, copayments required of parents receiving child care assistance, payment rates for child care providers serving families receiving child care assistance, and eligibility for child care assistance for parents searching for a job. These policies are fundamental to determining families’ ability to obtain child care assistance and the extent of help that assistance provides.

– Families in 41 states were better off—having greater access to assistance and/or receiving greater benefits from assistance—in February 2017 than in February 2016 under one or more child care assistance policies covered in this report.
– Families in 14 states were worse off under one or more of these policies in February 2017 than in February 2016.

Although there were more improvements than cutbacks between 2016 and 2017, the improvements states made were generally modest and too small to close persistent, substantial gaps in families’ access to assistance and the level of assistance available.

Paid Family Leave, Fathers’ Leave-Taking, and Leave-Sharing in Dual-Earner Households

Source: Ann P. Bartel, Maya Rossin-Slater, Christopher J. Ruhm, Jenna Stearns, Jane Waldfogel, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Early View, November 6, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Using difference-in-difference and difference-in-difference-in-difference designs, we study California’s Paid Family Leave (CA-PFL) program, the first source of government-provided paid parental leave available to fathers in the Unites States. Relative to the pre-treatment mean, fathers of infants in California are 46 percent more likely to be on leave when CA-PFL is available. In households where both parents work, we find suggestive evidence that CA-PFL increases both father-only leave-taking (i.e., father on leave while mother is at work) and joint leave-taking (i.e., both parents on leave at the same time). Effects are larger for fathers of first-born children than for fathers of later-born children.

Paid Family and Medical Leave Programs: State Pathways and Design Options

Source: Sarah Jane Glynn, Alexandra L. Bradley, and Benjamin W. Veghte, National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), September 2017

From the summary:
Time off to provide care for the health and well-being of a family member or for a worker’s own illness or injury is a near-universal need of workers from all backgrounds. Paid family and medical leave offers protection against financial hardship for employees requiring such time away from work to provide or receive care. The United States is an extreme outlier in its lack of a national paid leave program. In the absence of a national program, several states have established paid leave programs for medical and family caregiving needs. States have taken different pathways to creating their paid leave programs and have pursued different design options in terms of structure, funding, and program administration.

This brief discusses the current landscape of paid leave access, the history behind existing state-level programs, and policy considerations for states developing future paid family and medical leave programs. It begins with an overview of paid leave coverage in the United States, including a discussion of inequality in access to existing programs and benefits. This is followed by a discussion of the growing need for paid leave programs. The history of existing state-level policies is addressed through a description of the policy pathways and design choices that were made in the development and implementation of these programs. The brief then considers the benefits and challenges of various design options (i.e., program structure, funding, and administration) that states will weigh when designing new paid leave policy. Finally, the brief considers the current research on the economic and health impacts of paid leave programs, and discusses critical questions for future study.

The Haves & Have Nots of Paid Family Leave

Source: PL+US: Paid Leave for the United States, May 2017

In the United States today, paid family leave is an elite benefit: 94% of low-income working people have no access to paid family leave. Millions of Americans don’t get even a single day of paid time for caregiving. 1 in 4 new moms in the U.S. is back at work just ten days after childbirth. While public discourse often focuses on income inequality, there is another critical way families experience inequality: the inability to be with their babies and families for the most important moments of their lives.

Over the last year, a slate of the largest employers in the United States have announced paid family leave policies: Starbucks, Yum! Brands (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut), and others. While the media has largely heralded these announcements as a boon for working families, most of these benefits are only accessible for people who work in white-collar corporate jobs, leaving out the hourly employees who comprise the vast majority of a company’s workforce. In fact, overall access to paid family leave in the United States has actually declined over the last decade. We’ve conducted independent research to uncover the paid family leave policies at the largest employers in the country to understand who has access to family leave, who doesn’t, and what that says about the need for change in both corporate and public policy.

Many of the companies that employ the most people have policies that provide significantly more paid family leave to corporate employees, while offering little — or nothing at all — to hourly/field/part-time workers…..

Related:
Left Out: How Corporate America’s parental leave policies discriminate against dads, LGBTQ+ and adoptive parents
Source: PL+US: Paid Leave for the United States, June 2017

In America, Parental Leave Is Still A Class Issue
Source: Lea Rose Emery, Brides, September 12, 2017

….Unfortunately, Starbucks is correct when they argue that they provide better benefits than some. Walmart, Kroger, Nike, and Marriott are just some of the corporations offering no paid leave at all. Yum! Brands, owner of chains such as KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, employs hundreds of thousands of US workers, and none of the staff working the restaurants get any paid leave. Yet birth mothers working in the headquarters get 16 weeks. At Amazon, it’s 20 weeks for full-time birth mothers and nothing for those in the warehouse. While all parents deserve adequate paid leave (a guarantee in so many other countries), there is something especially perverse about a company recognizing the need for its corporate employees while denying it to its lower paid staff—people who are much more likely to have trouble affording child care to being with.

The worst part? It doesn’t have to be this way. It is possible to treat your retail and corporate employees equally, to give part-time workers the same benefits of those working full-time while still flourishing. Wells Fargo and Nordstrom give all new mothers at least 12 weeks of paid leave, though they do give less to fathers and adoptive parents. Bank of America and Ikea give all new parents 16 weeks. These are huge companies with huge profits. If they can do it, why can’t others?….

A Childcare Agenda for the Left

Source: Heidi Hartmann and Gina Chirillo, Dissent, Fall 2017

It has to be taken as a sign of progress that the presidential candidates of both major political parties talked about providing child care and paid family leave in their campaigns, for the first time in U.S. history. But despite this progress, the Trump administration’s child-care proposal is not comprehensive enough to be of much use to the large numbers of low-income families in great need. Trump’s child-care proposal is—surprise, surprise—another tax giveaway to upper-income taxpayers, disguised as an increased tax credit for struggling low-income families. The increase is vanishingly small for low earners. In response to Trump’s plan, Democratic Senator Patty Murray and Representative Bobby Scott drafted the Child Care for Working Families Act. A summary of the bill, expected to be introduced in full tomorrow, shows a more comprehensive plan for high-quality early learning and affordable child care.

Subsidized child care and paid family leave are crucial for American families because they have the potential to increase disposable family income and reduce poverty and inequality in a meaningful way. They are also essential for achieving gender equality, key for children’s well-being, and a stimulus to the economy. For all these reasons, any progressive or Democratic Party platform must include wide-ranging child care and paid family leave proposals. Trump’s plan doesn’t get us there, but as in many other countries with our wealth, we can and must humanize our economic system by building in time and resources for caring for our families…..

Related:
2 Million Parents Forced to Make Career Sacrifices Due to Problems with Child Care
Source: Leila Schochet and Rasheed Malik, Center for American Progress, September 13, 2017

The Motherhood Wage Penalty by Work Conditions: How Do Occupational Characteristics Hinder or Empower Mothers?

Source: Wei-hsin Yu, Janet Chen-Lan Kuo, American Sociological Review, OnlineFirst, Published July 3, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Mothers are shown to receive lower wages than childless women across industrial countries. Although research on mothers’ wage disadvantage has noted that the extent of this disadvantage is not universal among mothers, it has paid relatively little attention to how the structural characteristics of jobs moderate the price women pay for motherhood. Using data from 16 waves of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth that began in 1997, we examine how the pay gap between mothers and non-mothers varies by occupational characteristics. Deriving hypotheses from three prominent explanations for the motherhood wage penalty—stressing work-family conflict and job performance, compensating differentials, and employer discrimination, respectively—we test whether this penalty changes with an occupation’s exposure to hazardous conditions, schedule regularity, required on-the-job training, competitiveness, level of autonomy, and emphasis on teamwork. Results from fixed-effects models show that the wage reduction for each child is less in occupations with greater autonomy and lower teamwork requirements. Moreover, mothers encounter a smaller penalty when their occupations impose less competitive pressure. On the whole, these findings are consistent with the model focusing on job strain and work-family conflict, adding evidence to the importance of improving job conditions to alleviate work-family conflict.

Our Aging, Caring Nation: Why a U.S. Paid Leave Plan Must Provide More Than Time to Care for New Children

Source: National Partnership for Women & Families, Issue Brief, June 2017

From the press release:
The nation’s aging population, increases in demand for family members to care for loved ones, and gender gaps in labor force participation are powerful forces aligning to make time for family care and serious personal medical issues essential components of any national paid family and medical leave plan. These are some of the findings of a new report released today, following the inclusion of a very limited paid parental leave proposal in the Trump administration’s FY 2018 budget proposal, and one week after a bipartisan group of scholars came together for the first time ever to announce core paid leave principles.

The report, Our Aging, Caring Nation: Why a U.S. Paid Leave Plan Must Provide More Than Time to Care for New Children, was prepared by the National Partnership for Women & Families. The group analyzed research on the health, financial and economic effects of paid leave policies, along with demographic and labor force data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The analysis highlights the significant deficiencies of public policy proposals for paid leave that exclude certain types of care, and specific states in which providing for family care and serious personal medical needs would be especially important.

Work sick or lose pay? The high cost of being sick when you don’t get paid sick days

Source: Elise Gould and Jessica Schieder, Economic Policy Institute, June 28, 2017

From the summary:
There is no federal law that ensures all workers are able to earn paid sick days in the United States. For workers who fall ill or whose families depend on them to provide care in the event of an illness, this means sick days can be incredibly costly. Taking needed sick time means workers go without pay or must show up at work while sick and delay seeking treatment for themselves or their dependents.

This paper examines recent trends in paid sick time and highlights some of the costs to workers and their families when they are not given the opportunity to earn paid sick time. By quantifying how lack of paid sick days threatens the economic security of low- and moderate-income families, it adds new data to debates over paid sick days measures in states and cities and the need for federal legislation. Over the last several years seven states, the District of Columbia, and 31 other localities have passed paid sick days laws, five of which are set to go into effect this July. Ballot initiatives are on the horizon and some policymakers are calling for a federal guarantee to allow workers to earn paid sick time. ….
Related:
Press release

Elder Care Is a Looming Crisis. Hawaii Is Facing It Head-On

Source: Christina Cauterucci, Slate, Better Life Lab blog, June 5, 2017

…. If Gov. David Ige signs this legislation, people who work at least 30 hours a week outside the home and serve their kupuna as primary caregivers will be eligible for up to $70 a day in help from trained home aides. The Kupuna Caregiver Assistance Program would help a family caregiver continue to work outside the home, get some necessary breaks in caregiving work, and give her the money to pay a fair wage to the care workers she hires. It’s an important step toward meeting the needs of a fast-aging population and the family members who are expected—but too often financially unequipped—to shoulder the burden…..
Related:
Hawaii Long-Term Health-Care Bill Serves as National Model
Source: Rachel M. Cohen, American Prospect, January 12, 2016

Hawaii legislators are tackling the nation’s elder care crisis head-on with a bill that would offer universal long term care to the state’s senior citizens.